Thursday, December 31, 2009

Over My Shoulder

Dear Dashell,

As I lie here in bed during the last few hours of 2009, thinking back over the last year, I am struck by how much you have changed. The baby I remember from 2008, was but a vague glimmer in the mischievous eye of the child I witnessed growing and evolving every day in 2009.

Your birth day 2008...

Your birthday 2009...

Reading books 2008...

Reading books 2009...

Halloween 2008...

Halloween 2009...

Thanksgiving 2008...

Thanksgiving 2009....

Christmas 2008...

Christmas 2009...

You are becoming such an amazing little boy. (Although sometimes you still like to refer to yourself as "baby", you are definitely not a baby any more!) I treasure every moment we share and every conversation we have. Like the other day, when I mentioned that it was raining, you had to see for yourself and then you had to make sure that I understood that "agua" was coming "down" from the "sky".  It was so sweet of you explain the rain to me (and go over it several times to make absolutely, positively sure that I got it.) Later that day, memories of that conversation kept a smile on my face as I raced through that wet, wet rain while running errands.

I realize that you won't remember any of this and that makes me sad. (But who knows how much of this I'll even remember in a few years. Your memory is the first thing to go, right?) Most people's earliest memories are from about 3 or 4 years old. That being the case, I understand that your father and I are the keepers of your memories for this period in your life. I hope you know that I do not take this lightly. I have fallen a little behind lately (like I'll be posting about Thanksgiving 2009 in 2010, yikes!), but I resolve for 2010 to try to be a little better. To shoot a little more video. To write down a few more of the moments that make you so special. To commit a little more of your early life to paper and film. I know I will only get to see you go through these stages once. I don't want to forget any of it and maybe, someday, you'll want to revisit your "lost years".

I hope that the next year brings you at least as much joy as the past one. I can only imagine what lies ahead for us. (I'm definitely hoping that that we won't top our record of three trips to the emergency room!) I know that there will be giggles and there will be tears. Life, my love, is unfortunately full of both. Please always remember to soar as high as you can during the joyous times and to learn as much as you can from the painful ones.

In case you're wondering, 2009 for you ended on a high note. I took this picture at 8:15pm tonight, just before I put you to bed...

Happy New Year Dashell!!

Thank you for coming into my life in 2008. And, thank you, for bringing so much joy to it in 2009.

I love you buddy.

I love you so much it hurts.

Friday, December 25, 2009


...and happy, healthy holiday wishes from our little elf to you and yours!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Little Bit of Holiday Magic

When I was young (really young, like let's say 4 or so) I remember trying to stay up super duper late (for me) to see if I could spy Santa out my window. Mind you, the windows in my bedroom were very, very high off the ground. Or, maybe, I was really, really short? Hmmm... reality is all perspective, right? Anyway...  if I pressed my body and my cheek up against the wall directly under my curtain, I could barely, just barely, get a peek at the darkened night sky. Much to my dismay, I never did see Rudolph, but my Christmas's were not without a little bit of magic.

Every year my parents put a little Christmas tree in my room. I think that it was probably just the top off our big tree, but to me it was so special. I remember gazing at it as I drifted off to sleep, thinking about Santa and the reindeer and presents. And then jumping out of bed Christmas morning to find one little present under my own personal tree as though Santa had actually snuck into my bedroom while I was sleeping!!! 

This year when I put up our Christmas trees Dashell was delighted.

He kept talking about how big! they were...

...and about the lights and the balls and of course wanting to touch them.

I explained that these were mommy's trees and he could touch with his eyes but not with his hands. And, I have to say, I felt a little like Scrooge. Ba humbugger. What child isn't entranced by the magic of Christmas trees? And isn't part of the fun looking at all the ornaments? It was a feeling I just couldn't shake so I decided to fix it.

We went out and got Dashy a tree of his very own. A tree that is full of little lights which cast a magical glow and is decorated with animal ornaments of all shapes and sizes. Ornaments that can be touched and played with.

And suprise, surprise, Dash loves it!!!

Every morning before he'll even let me lift him out of his crib he asks for the lights on his tree to be turned on. Many times during the day, he runs over to his tree to look at and talk about the animals on it. And in the evenings, he sits on the floor next to it and asks to have his bedtime stories read to him there.

It's amazing how much Christmas joy one little tree can bring.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Did you hear that? That HUGE bang??! That was the sound of Dashell's vocabulary exploding over Thanksgiving. He had plateaued for a while and then during the time in and around the holiday his little brain went into overdrive and he started using 2 or 3 or sometimes even 4 or 5 new words a day. It was crazy!

I don't want to forget, so just consider this list a little note to myself.

- light (this was the perfect sign to learn at Christmas time!!)
- turning (as in the wheels on a train turn)
- cement truck
- stretch

- moo (cow)
- baa (sheep)
- meow (cat)
- chug-a-chug-a chug-a-chug-a (you guessed it... train!)
- boom (as in it fell down)
- boop boop (boat)
- laughter (clown)
- crying (to tell us he or someone else was/is sad or scared)
- shhhhhhh (to tell us that it is dark or someone is sleeping)
- clicking of his tongue (chicken or rooster)
- bup bup bup bup bup (helicopter)

- happy
- people
- choo choo
- bus
- mommy (he was already using mama, but mom-ME is sooo cute!)
- puppy
- daddy
- taxi
- house
- ice (he asks for this every time he falls now)
- couch
- broom
- air (as in the air is blowing or moving)
- Chicago (this is what he is saying in the picture above)
- stone
- bone
- comb
- spoon
- boots
- stick
- book
- paper
- keys
- Sandy (the name of our beloved neighbor)
- Patty (the name of our nanny)
- round (as in something is going around)
- run (one of his favorite things to do!)
- pepper
- bumpy
- Ducky (one of his wubbies)
- knee
- toes
- mouth
- nose
- hair
- bean (his new favorite food)
- yummy yum (for eating)
- cup
- sky
- juice
- done (as in "all done")
- big! (this comes with a hand gesture)
- nice
- top (as in the top of a container)
- egg
- stuck (as in "I'm stuck between the couch and the chair and can't get out!")
- cracker
- snack
- bear
- out
- moon
- star
- deer
- please (sounds like "peeze")
- caboose (this sounds like "boo-se")
- te cae (this sort of means "you fall" in Spanish. So now whenever Dash is about to do something where he might fall, he starts saying "te cae! te cae!" This warning to himself does not keep him from doing it, mind you. I think he's just letting me know that he's aware that it is dangerous. Nice boy. Right?!)

Oh yeah, and we got him to say "chili dog" over and over and he would just crack up everytime, but had no idea what he was saying!

Even with all these new words, "under" (which he started using about a month and a half ago) is still the favorite at the moment. He (and his train) just cannot go under enough things!

And I can't forget to mention that two days ago he started saying, "Dashell". It's very cute, but he only says it when prompted. In conversation he still refers to himself as "niƱo" ("boy" in Spanish) or "baby". Oh, well. He's right, I guess. I just think that "Dashell" sounds so much nicer!  Don't you? Hopefully, as they say, this too shall pass.

Friday, December 11, 2009

These Are A Few Of My Fav-or-ite Things!

Have you ever been passionate about something? Or maybe ever so slightly obsessed? What if you were a little preoccupied with umm, let's say for the sake of conversation... trains? What do you think you would need to get you through the day? Maybe a nice "whoo! whoo! hat!"....

And maybe a new...

...and different...




There's definitely no way to predict what your child will be into. But, we were warned early on to look out, because around 2 or 3 boys REALLY get into trains. Let's just say I think we started a little early. Around 15 months! The kid can already identify just about every part of a train: wheels, bell, whistle, smoke stack, light, where the engineer sits, coal car, passenger car and caboose (which he current calls the "boo-se".)

To say that Dash is OOOOOB-sessed with trains is an understatement. Many a morning starts with him jumping up in his crib shouting "Whoo! Whoo!! Track!! Whoo! WHOO!!! Choo, choo, choo, choo!!" Then after I collect him and take him downstairs he finds it necessary to gather his hat and his train books and settle in for storytime with a breakfast smoothie.

Given his penchant for trains, my parents made sure that Dashy saw every single electric train in Chicago went we went to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday!

Dash was beside himself.


He had never seen so many amazing trains in his life!!

So, of course out here in California, we've taken him on every train ride in the area as well as a local park where you can actually see (and climb on!) real retired trains.

Dash LOVES it and we have been more then once. And, as if this park couldn't be any more amazing, they have a ride-on train too, where you get to circle trains in a TRAIN!!!

The ride-on train is just a little bit more his size. I mean, look at how tiny the kid is...

The size comparison kills me!

But, please don't think that it is only trains that the child is hooked on. Oh no, that my friend would be a grave mistake! One that I am sure you, who have been reading along for a while, will not make.

As I have mentioned countless times before, Dash has a "small" thing for sticks. If he is outside...the boy has a stick. Consequently, I have hundreds of pictures like this...

Dash in motion, with... a stick. Not usually what I'm shooting for!

I'm not going to delve too deeply into the Freudian aspect of this, but lately Dashell has been gravitating toward larger and larger sticks. Consequently, he always seems to be on the look-out to trade up...

What do you think? Hmmm... right??!

Uh, um, anyway, getting back to sticks...  Although Dash doesn't quite understand sharing yet (thank goodness, I don't want to have to worry about him sharing his stick at such a young, tender age!!), he has been pretty adept lately at pointing out the virtues of a good stick to the less enlightened.

And I think he really has a thing for speading the word, because he seems to leave converts in his path where ever he goes...

Outside of trains and sticks there are, of course, tractors...

...trucks and cars. Dash has words or signs for garbage trucks, dump trucks, cement trucks, taxis and buses.

And last but not least, I absolutely can't forget the two things closest to his heart, Ducky and Sheepy...

... (his wubbies). Life would be simply unbearable without them!